Moore lines up Banks raid with Benatar

Gary Moore plans to step Benatar up in both class and trip after earmarking the Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon as a possible port of call.

Gary Moore: Trains Benatar

The five-year-old made a big impression when winning on his first start for Moore at Fontwell earlier this month.

Although plans remain fluid for the Ashley Head-owned gelding, Moore has pointed to the extended two-mile-five-furlong Listed prize on February 9 as a potential target.

Moore said: "He is a lovely horse and a horse that I like. It was a race I thought would cut up and would be easy for him to win.

"It wasn't the nicest introduction in the world as they went slow and the ground was bad. Everything was wrong, but he still won and that told me he is as good as I think he is.

"I would like to think he is as good a novice as I've had. I would probably now go for the Sidney Banks at Huntingdon with him.

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"He is a great big horse and would need all the time I can give him. He is a chaser in the making."

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Potential opposition for Benatar at Huntingdon could include the Ben Pauling-trained Le Breuil.

After tasting defeat in a bumper on his return from a summer break, the lightly-raced gelding made it two wins from just three career starts when winning on his hurdles bow at Sedgefield back in November.

Pauling said: "He had a slight setback after Sedgefield and is now back in training. We are probably looking towards the Sidney Banks at Huntingdon for him.

"I think a huge amount of him and he is a lovely individual. He has only had one run over hurdles and he could not have been any more impressive.

"The horse that finished second has won twice and the third recently won by more than 20 lengths, so the form for Sedgefield looks strong.

"I think he is probably one of the smartest novices I have. The plan was the Neptune, and if he has the experience, there is still time to go for it as long as he is ready for the Sidney Banks.

"If not, we will wait for Aintree."

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